Collaborative 360 — Creating Successful Pathways to 2050
As an organization that has aided in securing over $10 million in funding for global projects 2) developed more than 600 businesses and nonprofits – boosting employment while implementing services 3) aided in feeding more than 15,000 children and families 4) facilitated free business development workshops for thousands, creating opportunities for business growth, and 5) helped to establish afterschool programs for hundreds of disadvantaged youth; the Kreative Images Foundation (K.I.) is honing our focus to specifically impact South Los Angeles communities through the Collaborative 360 Project. What is Collaboration? 1) The Merriam Webster definition states . . . Collaboration means to cooperate with an agency or instrumentality with which one is not immediately connected 2) Wikipedia’s definition says . . . Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal; working together to realize shared goals; a collective, determination to reach an identical objective; sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. 3) Dictionary.com explains . . . Collaboration is the act of working with another or others on a joint project, or something created by working jointly with another or others What is Collaborative 360 (C-360)? For Collaborative 360 (C-360), Collaboration means, effectively forming vital relationships with those in South Los Angeles and beyond that will collectively work toward the greater good of others; thereby through joint efforts, C-360 will offer full-circle, wrap-around services to address community needs. C-360 is designed for local businesses, community organizations, churches and residents to cooperatively implement strategies that ultimately create self-sustaining, healthy communities. These joint alliances will produce extensive, long-term outcomes, i.e., reduction in crime, improved community relations, enhanced literacy scores, business creation, and enhanced employment opportunities, just to name a few. Preventing Valuable Economic Leakage by Plugging in the Gaps In order for any community to gain and sustain its most valuable asset (people), there must be services, solutions and economic wealth that exist. Without them, the outflow turns into a steady stream of job reduction, high crime, loss of businesses, etc.; resulting in what’s called white-flight (the departure of whites or wealthier populations). This deficiency of people and resources leaves low-income minority populations to dwell among low-producing schools, sub-standard housing, blighted businesses and more. Stopping the Ripple Effect of Community Deprivation – In order to build healthy sustainable communities, thereby a healthy LA by 2050, it’s important that we uplift and empower “all” Angelinos; while also attracting and retaining the powerful minds and creative individuals that are so much a part of our opulently diverse, cultural lining (USC and UCLA students, visiting tourist contemplating relocation and others); including reigniting the passion and interest of current residents that are contemplating moving away. In order for C-360 to have an impact and promote sustainability communities, we must first understand why people either remain or move from a community. The U.S. Census Bureau announced that among those who moved between 2009 and 2010, more than four out of 10 (16.4 million or 43.7 percent) did so for desirable housing and community related reasons, such as the desire live in cleaner, safer communities. In an effort to create safe, livable communities, C-360 will focus on forming alliances (crossing business sectors, industries and community programs), in our target areas to cross-collaborate and create sustainable strategies for success. We have experienced major success in helping organizations and businesses cross collaborate in ways that are seldom considered before: • Teaching strategies to for-profits and nonprofits to collaborate for business sustainability while aiding community residents; i.e., showing a struggling plumber how he can work with a nonprofit job training program (plumbing apprentice program) and provide needed services to low-income families, seniors, the disabled, etc. • Linking child care centers with yoga instructors, because studies have shown that toddlers are entering kindergarten with the stress levels of 9th graders • Helping mental health professionals form nonprofits to aid individuals that otherwise could not receive their services; with a goal to prevent instances like the senseless killings of Newton, Connecticut; Columbine; the Aurora, CO theater shootings and more.
What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?
The founder of C-360, Sherita J. Herring, and the Kreative Images Foundation (K.I.) is equipped with the experience, contacts and professional acumen to produce the stated deliverables of the C-360 project. For more than 25 years Ms. Herring and the K.I. Foundation has spearheaded positive change by 1) aiding organizations in securing millions in funding 2) developed more than 600 businesses and nonprofits – boosting the job market while implementing services 3) aided in forming programs that have fed more than 15,000 children and families 4) facilitated free business development workshops for thousands, creating opportunities for business growth, and 5) helped to establish afterschool programs for hundreds of disadvantaged youth, and so much more. Additionally, Sherita recently served as the Community Outreach Project Manager on a $14 million dollar development that is positioned to create more than 300 permanent jobs in Watts. She developed and coached the nonprofit that reforested over 30,000 acres with 1.5 million native trees along the gulf coast with more than 3,500 volunteers; developed the first and only housing database for Hurricane Katrina; following the Los Angeles Civil Unrest (Rodney King riots), she aided in securing $1.6 million for community redevelopment efforts; for nearly three years, volunteered at the Chino prison, coaching men preparing for release (decreased the recidivism rate by 70%).
Sherita continuously serves as the go-to consultant for numerous celebrity and athlete social entrepreneurs, including: Oscar winning actress Hilary Swank; NFL great Jim Brown; legendary actress Tippi Hedren; Hall of Famer Bootsy Collins; Film Producer/actor Bill Duke; Comedians Kim Coles, Michael Colyar, Anthony Anderson, Eddie Griffin and so many others. She has been featured in Women of Wisdom magazine with First Lady Michelle Obama; received the California Women of Achievement award with Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Diane Watson; and was awarded the African Focus Humanitarian Award with R&B songstress Chaka Khan and comedian/actress Monique Hicks, while being featured in “Women of Color” magazine with the late Coretta Scott-King, Maya Angelou and numerous other renaissance women, just to name a few.
From creating programs for battered women and forming after school programs for youth in the U.S. to installing water towers in the Philippines, K.I. has touched lives all over the globe—China, Mexico, Australia, Russia, Canada, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, India, South America, Belgium, Trinidad, Tobago, and so many others.
Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.
Because of our on-going community efforts, K.I. has many collaborative partners excited about C-360: CEO Space business forums (trained millions of business owners over 20 years); Rev. Norman D. Copeland (Presiding Elder of AME churches in South LA); Community Powers in Action (working with youth and families); LATalk Radio providing radio air time featuring those making a difference ; the newly launched South LA Chamber and Community alliance with Co-Founder Stephan McGlover; Computer Global Works offering computer training to individuals and entrepreneurs, and so many others, including many celebrities: Anthony Anderson, Les Brown, Kim Coles, Michael Colyar, Bootsy Collins and more.
Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?
A significant part of developing success programs is implementing an effective evaluation plan. You can’t know where you going, if you can’t tell where you are, or where you’ve been.
C-360 will accomplish this implementing an intake form to gather information on each participant/entrepreneur, i.e., socioeconomic position, education, marital status, etc.; designed to fit the program component.
Below are two extremely different examples of how we will help build the capacity of our participants by helping them develop effective evaluation tools to measure their successes.
For business development training and entrepreneurship, our initial intake form might encompass the following questions:
1) How long have you been in business, if applicable?
2) How many employees do you have? 0-3 4-10 10-20 50+
3) What is your annual operating budget? Under $25,000 $25k - $100k $100k - $500k $500k plus
4) How many collaborations have you made with other businesses or organizations to build your capacity, while helping community? 0 1-5 5+
5) How active are you in your surrounding communities? (1-extremely low, 5-extremely): 1 2 3 4 5
After being involved with C-360 for three months, we would ask similar questions to see if their employee count has increase/decreased; if the operating budget improved; if they increased their involvement community and formed capacity building collaborations that increased their customers, and/or bottom line, etc.
This could change the current situation where 36% of the population lives below the poverty level.
If a childcare collaborates with a yoga instructor to reduce the stress levels of toddlers, the intake form could ask the following (completed by the parent/guardian and the teacher) -- rating as follows: 1 being extremely low to 5 being exceptional:
1) How old is the child?
2) What has been the behavioral patterns of the child?
a. Has trouble communicating effective 1 2 3 4 5
b. Has frequent bed wetting 1 2 3 4 5
c. Tends to withdraw when in new environments 1 2 3 4 5
3) How involved is the parent in the child’s daycare experience? 1 2 3 4 5
4) Is the child from a ___ two-parent, ___ single-parent or ___foster care home environment?
These are just some of the questions that could be asked to monitor improved communication; enhanced self-esteem; reduced stress levels and more after being involved in yoga; which is statistically proven to help toddlers find inner peace. The funding for this kind of program will also help the operating budget for both small business owners (child care director and yoga instructor). This would reduce the statistics that toddler enter kindergarten with the stress of 9th graders.
The compiled information would be incorporated into our designed data tracking system to reveal the areas of growth for small business development and participant empowerment.
How will your project benefit Los Angeles?
In addition to using our strategies for cross collaborations of services, business industries and community, C-360 will create a unique business incubator; one focused on helping low-income individuals that are struggling to start or maintain a business, without continued support. So often, these poverty-stricken entrepreneurs are trying to work from home without adequate support, training, and business camaraderie that aids with creativity, improved strategies and more. As recent as this month (March 2013), Best Buy and Yahoo have called back into the office their virtual employees for these same reasons.
It’s apparent that our proposed service area is a compilation of high and low-income individuals (South LA), which presents huge gaps that must be considered, i.e., from unemployed/underemployed, crime, gangs, and cultural differences between black and brown communities; to the other side of the coin; comprised of the more affluent areas around USC, Staples Center, LA Live, etc. – where we must work on retaining large and small businesses, that will not sustain without continual growth in the surrounding areas.
As stated before, though much growth is evident in some areas, the composition of the surrounding neighborhoods are complicated with many nuances:
• Approximately 36% of the population lives below the poverty level (state average 14%)
• There are more than 7,000 single-parent households - 5,000+ being lead by women
• Nearly 60% of the population has less than a high school education
• Much of the area is plagued with excessive crime; severe cultural differences; high instances of homelessness, and more
K.I.’s vast experience in social advocacy, community development, and small business creation, positions us to develop workable solutions to create jobs for the hard-to-employ; implement programs to aid and empower disenfranchised populations; improve public safety, and execute effective strategies that will cross industries, cultures, and biases for economic sustainability.
One of our prime strategies is small business creation through for-profit and nonprofit collaborations, which aids in small business creation. In order for small businesses to serve their historic roles as the catalyst for job creation, they must have a support system, to remain competitive in today’s global marketplace. Our target populations must have the confidence and ability to invest in this economy to create jobs – thus is the need for C-360’s business and community supportive services.
Though thousands of organizations offer various aspects of job, career or business training, few facilities offer capacity building, or business incubation for our target populations of individuals with great minds and ability, but lack the advanced training and socioeconomic means to advance their dreams and skills.
C-360's strategies are designed to create on-going positive change, which can serve as a pilot for other underserved populations.
What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?
Similar to the growth that downtown Los Angeles has experienced: Recent research reveals that over the past 10 years, downtown LA has experienced an extraordinary commercial and residential renaissance. With some 45,000 residents (up 15.1% from 2008), 500,000+ weekday employees and more than 10 million annual non-local visitors, Downtown LA has become Southern California’s economic engine. Despite the recent recession, residents, employees and visitors have continued to grow and mature since the 2008 study. This growth includes the increasingly well-educated, higher-income, active and diverse population that is relocating to the downtown area.
With C-360’s defined goals to enrich the surrounding communities, we will impact the now standing statistics where approximately 36% of the population lives below the poverty level (state average 14%); where more than 7,000 single-parent households - 5,000+ being are being lead by women; where nearly 60% of the population has less than a high school education, and where much of the area is plagued with excessive crime; severe cultural differences; high instances of homelessness.
C-360 will create a nationwide movement that recognizes the connection between a healthy economy and strong, vibrant communities. Part of C-360’s outreach initiative is to provide training to local residents, community organizations and businesses, on how to invest in themselves and their community through our consumer consciousness training. Though residents in the lower socioeconomic sector know little about community economic strengthening, they play a very significant role.
By empowering the lower socioeconomic populations that often represent higher rates of substance abuse, domestic violence, high unemployment, low test scores and high dropout rates, soaring crime, and so many other damaging practices that aid in community deprivation; C-360 will be paving the way ensured social connectedness.
Social status, as described by income, largely determines so much of a person’s life, i.e., education, health, voting and other aspects of their life. Recent studies in the field of public opinion stress the high correlation between the voter’s socioeconomic status and his voting tendency.
Based on the latest information from the LA March 2013 election, where roughly $19 million was spent in the 2013 mayoral primary, but just 21 percent of registered voters turned out to vote (the lowest rate for a primary without an incumbent since 1978 – it’s evident that we must build the trust, effectiveness and wealth of South Los Angeles.